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What Is Vitrectomy?


Vitrectomy is a type of eye surgery used to treat problems of the eye’s retina and vitreous. In this surgery, your retinal surgeon may:

• remove blood or other substance keeping light from focusing properly on the retina

• remove scar tissue that is wrinkling or tearing the retina and causing poor vision

• Hole in the macula

• help repair a retina that has detached (pulled away) from the eye wall

During vitrectomy, the ophthalmologist removes some or all of the vitreous from the middle of your eye. This vitreous is replaced with either a salt water (saline) solution or a bubble made of gas or oil.

What Happens During a Vitrectomy?

Vitrectomy is usually done in the operating theatre as an outpatient procedure. You will have a local anaesthesia to numb the eye. Surgery can take from one to several hours.

During surgery, the ophthalmologist will make a small cut (incision) in the white of the eye (sclera). He or she will use a microscope to see inside your eye. Your surgeon will use tiny tools to do one or more of these steps:

• remove all cloudy vitreous

• remove scar tissue from the retina

• remove any cataracts

• remove any object that should not be in the eye

• return the retina to its proper position against the back of the eye

• use a laser to repair a torn retina or other procedure

• place an air or gas bubble in your eye to help the retina remain in its proper position (bubble goes away on its own)

• place a silicone oil bubble in your eye (oil removed later during second surgery)

Following the surgery, you will be monitored as you rest and recover from anaesthesia. Then you can go home.

What Are Vitrectomy Surgery Risks?

Like any surgery, vitrectomy has risks. They include:

• infection

• bleeding

• torn or detached retina

• poor vision

• glaucoma, when pressure builds up within your eye

Another possible risk after vitrectomy is getting a cataract in that eye. This is especially likely to happen in people over age 50 who have vitrectomy. If you already had cataract surgery with a lens implant, vitrectomy will not harm your implanted lens. Vitrectomy surgery often improves vision or keeps it from getting worse.

What happens after vitrectomy surgery?

Your ophthalmologist will prescribe medicine to help relieve pain. You will also be given eye drops to use for up to 4 weeks.

Your doctor will have you wear a patch on your eye for a few days to protect it. He or she will tell you when you can safely get back to doing your normal activities.

If a gas bubble was placed in your eye

You may need to keep your head in a facedown (or side-facing) position for a specific period of time. Your ophthalmologist will tell you exactly how long to stay in that position. It is very important to follow these instructions to heal properly.

You cannot fly in an airplane until the gas bubble is gone. This is because a rapid altitude change can affect the size of the bubble.

Your personalized procedure

To determine which procedure is right for you, a comprehensive assessment is conducted utilizing state-of-the-art technology. Based on the thorough diagnostic assessment, your surgeon will tailor a treatment plan to match the right procedure for your unique vision needs.

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Broomfield House
3 Broomfield Road
Ayr KA7 2SP

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Tel: 01292 282 100

Fax: 0871 698 1292

Mobile: 0752 796 5642

Email: fiona@ayrshireeyeclinic.com

Fiona Conkie, Practice Manager